Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Health Care the Squeakquel: A Requiem in Two Parts

An interesting read over at the New York Times
"In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the 'personal health insurance coverage' of senators, representatives and their staff members. For example, it says, the law may 'remove members of Congress and Congressional staff' from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available."  (1)

I guess that's the problem when you "pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" (2).
"The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?"
As Ted Stevens likes to yell "NO!" (3)

One major selling point of the new health care bill was that it will reduce the deficit by $138 billion over the 2010–2019 period (4). That estimate was made by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The problem, however, is in how the CBO makes their estimates: they assume every provision in the bill will be carried out (e.g., cuts to medicare). In reality, congress never follows through with anything. For example, cuts to medicare have been delayed 5 times over the last 10 years (3 times by Republicans and 2 times by Democrats). A former CBO director wrote an article that details some of ways that this bill could contribute to the deficit rather than reduce it (5).

Last point about the deficit: if the debt is currently $12, 875, 520, 291, 623, 42 (6), what percentage is $138 billion? I tried to put that into my calculator, and all I got was this "60 2 4377".

Remember when Obama said this during the campaign: "One thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000. That's another promise we've kept." (7).

Actually, that is what he said during his most recent radio address. Here is what he said during the campaign "I can make a firm pledge: Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase—not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." (8)

Needless to say, he's broken that promise more times than Tiger Woods cheated on his wife.  According to Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), you can add 7 more tax hikes for that below $250,000 tax group (9), four of which affect income, thus also nullifying his revised statement about income tax increases. Here is a list of more taxes being implemented as well (10). The upshot of this is that congress will be taxed too, though, through their own stupidity (11).

In an earlier post (12), I lamented that this was a health insurance bill, not a health care bill. I might have been wrong with that assertion, since it is quite possible that actual health care will be affected. You see, we have a microcosm that can act as a crystal ball to see our future. It's the state of Massachusetts. When that Moron Mormon Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he passed a health care reform bill for the state. It was the model after which the Democrats constructed their health care bill.

Here is the current state of things is Massachusetts:
"People seeking to buy health insurance for the first time, or customers looking to change policies, found they could not do so." (13)
The state rejected of 235 of 274 proposed health insurance rate increases. That decision will cost insurance companies a lot of money (rendering them profitless). A judge ruled that the companies must comply with those rate rejections (14). That decision lead some insurers to do this:
"Health insurers are starting to sell policies that largely bar consumers from receiving medical care at popular but expensive hospitals such as Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s — a once radical idea that is gaining traction as a way to control soaring health care costs." (15)
Even the Massachusetts Treasurer (a recently former Democrat) has warned us of the things to come
"The Massachusetts treasurer said Tuesday that Congress will 'threaten to wipe out the American economy within four years' if it adopts a health-care overhaul modeled after the Bay State’s. " (16)
I think history is about to repeat itself. In the Senate:
"Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years...Mr. Harkin praised a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, that would give the secretary of health and human services the power to review premiums and block 'any rate increase found to be unreasonable.' Under the bill, the federal government could regulate rates in states where state officials did not have 'sufficient authority and capability' to do so." (17
We're fucked.

UPDATE: Oops! Heath Care bill costs $251 billion more than originally thought (that's larger than $138 billion right?). From the Obama Administration's Health and Human Services Administration Department (pdf; 18).
"Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, 'possibly jeopardizing access' to care for seniors."(19).
UPDATE: Double oops! "CBO: Medicare Payment 'Doc Fix' Is More Expensive Than Expected." (20)

UPDATE: The Health Insurance Trade-Off Game (22)

UPDATE: It just keeps going up, up, up. New CBO report say that an additional $115 billion in discretionary spending will be needed (23)

FYI: To all you conservatives out there, don't think the Republicans are going to "repeal the bill" either. (21)

And please, do not nominate this guy...

(part 1 here)


Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that you perform, well, er... certain sexual favors for Rush Limpball, Sean Hannity-Whore, and Bill-O-Blow-Me Reilly. Any truth to these rumors?

NeuroPsych said...

Rush Limpball is okay...but is Sean Hannity-Whore and Bill-O-Blow-Me-Reilly the best you can come up with? What about Sean Insanity or Bill O'Weenie or Bill O'Whiny?